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THE POWER OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION

A picture is worth a thousand words. An adage we all know, but more relevant in 2016 than ever before. It seems that today, everything revolves around visuals and brands invest more and more in the visual communication in-store, at events and online. That makes sense: an image draws more attention than text, people are better at remembering an image, it gives people a certain feeling and images are faster at persuading a purchase. I will explain this using a number of real examples.

Attention and remembrance

Visuals almost always beat text and it starts with drawing attention. We see movement from the corner of our eye and look instantly to see what it is – sometimes we don’t even do it intentionally. A human processes images 600,000 times faster than text. A visual message enters the brain so much faster and we are better at remembering them. At average we remember 80% of what we see and only 20% of what we read. Compelling numbers, that only mean one thing: ignore the visual communication of your brand and your customers will ignore your brand. At the same time, there are more images screaming for the consumers attention. If you want to rise above the mass, the best option is to aim for nothing less than a visual spectacle.

A great example is Dutch seating manufacturer Leolux, which recently renovated its Design Center in Eindhoven. Attention for the Leolux brand is at the heart of the center. To give the showroom a special appeal and to draw the visitor’s attention, the company worked with artist Olaf Hajek. The interior of the center is dressed expressive and wayward with the help of innovative visuals and materials. Leolux shows that it understands the added value of visual communication and puts this into practice beautifully.

Conviction

Drawing attention and ensure people remember your message is a great first step, but you naturally want to sell products and services. To achieve this, visuals are a powerful too: the probability to persuade consumers to purchase is 85% greater when an advertisement contains images opposed to no images. It is crucial that  you pick the right time in the buying process to show the right image. This rings true for web shops, but definitely brick and mortar stores. With a strong visual visibility and smart campaigns you will make a difference. A good example are the stores by Open32.

Open32’s stores are all about visual communication, bringing different brands and Open32’s own tone-of-voice into the spotlights. Moreover, Open32 makes extensive use of ready-to-wear photography, to advise customers and to display different clothing combinations. This has a direct effect on the buyer’s intentions. This is also true for the many campaigns the clothing store works with. Flexible wall covering can be changed quickly for a certain offer or around the holidays. It enables Open32 to ensure that for the visitors continuous and changing call to actions are visible and that they are inspiring.

Experience and sensation

To influence the long term purchasing behavior you want your customers to get the right experience and associate this with a good feeling, every time they come into contact with your brand. A unique appearance and recognizability are of great importance and that does not come without a compelling image. With your own look you can influence people's feelings and really achieve something. Visual communication has the ability to sooth people’s minds in places where they would rather not come, like a hospital. A interesting example is this children's dentistry in Cologne.

Because most children find it a bit scary to visit the dentist, the company opted for a consciously joyous waiting room. To make children feel at ease the wall has visuals of a farmland with houses, animals, plants and humans. There is also an educational character with talk clouds that teach the children about their teeth and there are touch screens where they can do all kinds of exercises. The result is that the children associate these good memories with the dentist the next time to go back.

It’s quite clear, a strong visual communication is crucial for every brand. Regardless if you want to draw attention, want to persuade your visitors, or just want to transmit the right feeling, as a brand, you can’t afford to ignore visual communication.

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Image Martijn Kreemer

MARTIJN KREEMER 

AUTHOR 

ACCOUNT MANAGER 

After working at Exposize and the Louwers Uitgevers Organisatie, Martijn made the move to Van Straaten three years ago. At Van Straaten, Martijn is responsible for customers in the south of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.